Josiah Hartley probably could have tailored his considerable athletic skills to any one of two or three sports at the college level.
However, Bangor High School’s multi-sport standout had his heart set on playing football at the University of Maine.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder will receive that opportunity starting next fall after signing a National Letter of Intent on Thursday to attend UMaine.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Hartley said. “This is the one school I want to go to and this is the one sport I love to play.”
As is the case with most Black Bear football signees, Hartley’s package will include a combination of financial aid and an athletic scholarship.
“Once the offer was out there, I kind of had to say yes to it,” said Hartley, whose letter from Maine arrived a day late because of weather-related delays.
Hartley has been a versatile performer at Bangor High. Not only did he excel at two different offensive positions on the football field (wide receiver and tailback), Hartley also has achieved success in baseball, basketball and track and field.
Last fall, after making the switch from wide receiver to tailback, he rushed for 1,353 yards on 247 carries (5.5 ypc) and 15 touchdowns. He posted those numbers despite missing 2 1/2 games with a concussion.
He also caught 20 passes good for 329 yards and three scores.
Hartley, 17, appears to have plenty of room for growth and is expected to redshirt next season. The UMaine staff told him if he gets bigger and stronger, he could play tight end, inside receiver or even linebacker.
Either way, he knows Division I will be a tough challenge.
“I think it’s going to be a whole other world, but as long as I put my heart into it and put in all the work that’s necessary, I’ll be able to manage,” Hartley said.
Hartley helped spearhead the Rams to a 10-2 record, the Eastern Maine championship and a berth in the Class A state final against eventual champ Cheverus of Portland.
“I think football’s the most unique sport,” Hartley said. “It’s by far the most emotional and the one you put your heart into.”
UMaine also received a commitment from John McCabe of Winslow High School.
The 6-foot, 215-pound fullback and linebacker was a two-way star for coach Mike Siviski’s Black Raiders, who struggled to a 2-6 record in 2010.
McCabe was selected as the Pine Tree Conference Class B Defensive Player of the Year.
“He’s athletic. He has deceptive speed,” Siviski said.
“What I liked is, things didn’t really go that well for us, but I liked the spirit, the intangibles he showed as captain, his leadership abilities.”
While McCabe reportedly received more attractive financial aid packages from other non-Division I schools, he is determined to play at UMaine.
“Maine, that’s a high level of football. I hope he keeps his enthusiasm and his joy for the game,” Siviski said.
A handful of other high school player also signed to play football at UMaine.
That group includes cornerback Sherrod Baltimore (5-10, 165), Fort Washington, Md.; wide receiver Zedric Joseph (5-9, 180), West Palm Beach, Fla.; offensive lineman Benedict Wezel (6-8, 310), Berlin, Germany; and fullback C.J. Dawson (6-2, 225), from Natick, Mass.
Thursday’s additions bring to 17 the number of student-athletes who have signed to play football at UMaine starting in the fall.
Hyland withdraws from Vermont
The saga of Keegan Hyland took another dramatic turn this week when, according to published reports, he withdrew from the University of Vermont.
The former South Portland High School basketball star had only last month chosen Vermont to play basketball after leaving Gonzaga University at the end of his first semester there.
The 6-3 shooting guard had been bothered by a concussion and a knee injury during his time at Gonzaga and wanted to continue his career closer to home. Hyland made visits to UMaine and Vermont during the semester break before choosing the latter.
Hyland must now sit out two semesters if he chooses to compete for another Division I program. He could enroll next fall at a Division II or III school and be eligible immediately.
The 2009 South Portland High graduate had initially committed to attend UVM, but then announced he would instead go to prep school. He subsequently accepted a scholarship at Gonzaga.